With over 100 company-owned and franchised restaurants throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States, RARE Hospitality International Inc. has a fast-growing presence in the steakhouse segment of the dining industry. This relative newcomer to the market--at scarcely 15 years in business, compared to such 1960s-era chains as Ponderosa and Bonanza--RARE's irreverent style of "cowboy cuisine" shook up the segment. By 1996, the company's core chain of LongHorn Steakhouses numbered 81 units. Following its initial public offering in 1992, the company acquired the Bugaboo Creek Steak House chain and its smaller The Capital Grille group of pricey eateries. Founder George W. McKerrow, Jr. continued to serve the company as chairman through the mid-1990s.
French Onion Soup
FRENCH ONION SOUP
Longhorn Steakhouse Copycat Recipe
6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of beef stock
1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
Salt and pepper
8 slices of toasted French bread
1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss cheese with a little grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, saute the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the caramelization.
Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.
To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.
Notes: The trick to a great French onion soup is starting with good stock.The French onion soup at Longhorn Steakhouse is made with sirloin beef stock. You can make a delicious soup stock from the leftover bones of roast. Another important element is the proper caramelization of the onions. Caramelizing onions take at least thirty minutes of slow cooking the onions over medium high heat. The browning, or caramelizing, of the onions brings out the sweetness in them.